Ideal if you prefer a decent caffeine kick and a selective blend of active ingredients.

One of the best pre-workouts we’ve tried, the Myprotein Alpha pre-workout powder offers 300mg of caffeine alongside a blend of active ingredients. Here’s how it performed on test.

Men’s Fitness verdict

Myprotein takes the no-carbs-plenty-of-caffeine approach to pre-workouts and opts for just five active ingredients. It’s an effective balance but the slightly salty aftertaste takes getting used to.
  • Contains 300mg of caffeine
  • Mixes well with water
  • Good value
  • Slightly salty aftetaste
  • Some ingredients need to be taken daily to be effective
  • Only available online

How we test the best pre-workouts

This list of the best pre-workouts was compiled by Rob Hobson, registered nutritionist (AFN) and sports nutritionist (SENr). There are lots of different pre-workouts on the market and the number of active ingredients differs substantially between brands. (However, the research to support their effectiveness in terms of performance is not always solid.) While Rob was testing, he judged each pre-workout on how well they tasted and mixed, as well as their nutritional effectiveness. He also considered the cost and availability of each.

Myprotein’s Alpha Pre-Workout has no carbohydrates to fuel a workout, but plenty of caffeine. It also has just five active ingredients associated with performance, while some of the pre-workout powders on test have nearly four times as many.

Still, there’s no point have lots of different active ingredients if they’re in doses that are too small to be effective. So does Myprotein’s ‘less is more philosphy’ pay off?

Myprotein Alpha Pre-Workout ingredients

One of the active ingredients here is beta-alanine, which helps to increase the amount of carnosine in the muscles. That acts as a buffer reducing blood acidity (caused by hydrogen ions), which can occur during short bursts of high-intensity exercise like sprinting. Dosing depends on body weight, but to be effective this needs to be taken every day for a prolonged period.

If you’re clued up on what pre-workout is, you’d expect to find caffeine in most blends – and Myprotein has certainly included plenty. Caffeine is widely used in short-duration and endurance sports to help reduce the perception of fatigue and to promote mental alertness. The optimal dose is around 200mg, so Myprotein’s 300mg doses will be more than enough to be effective. Just make sure you don’t exceed the recommended daily caffeine intake of 400mg.

L-arginine is an essential amino acid that’s thought to help promote the production of nitric oxide, a vasodilator helping to increase blood flow to muscles and so reducing fatigue – giving this blend creds as a muscle growth supplement, too. However, there’s not a lot of research to support this. This amino acid is converted to nitric oxide in the gut, which isn’t well absorbed.

That’s why there’s L-citrulline malate here to. It’s converted to L-arginine in the kidneys, which is then converted to nitric oxide and so is more effective. Research suggests improvements in performance if consuming 6-8g L-citrulline malate per day regularly – the dose in this supplement provides this amount.

Myprotein Alpha Pre-Workout flavour

The manufacturer has also added L-theanine to help improve focus and concentration while reducing stress. It’s often added alongside caffeine to help reduce the side effects such as anxiety and jitters.

Myprotein suggests a serving size of 20g powder with 300-400ml water, and it mixes well. The taste of the blue raspberry flavour we tested is pleasant enough, but there’s a bit of a salty aftertaste. Alpha Pre-Workout will be best suited to those doing high-intensity workouts requiring short bursts of energy. Given the amount of caffeine in it, it’s best to avoid using in the evenings and not to exceed the recommended dose.

With 30 20g servings in each 600g tub, each serving works out at 97p. That’s the cheapest of any pre-workout on test, and there are further discounts available online. However, the tubs are being phased out in favor of 20g sachets, priced at £1.19 (which is still good value). Or there’s Myprotein’s Origin Pre-Workout, which is available in tubs. Overall, the Alpha Pre-Workout is a good supplement if you’re looking for something with a good source of caffeine to boost your performance.